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Annulments are usually sought for a short term marriage and when there are no children born out of the marriage.  Additionally, with the implementation of “no fault” grounds, for divorce or Domestic Relations Law (DRL)§170(7), annulments are less sought.  However, if you still desire to obtain an annulment, here is what you need to know.  


There are five grounds for annulling a marriage: (1) failure of a party to have reached the age of consent; (2) lack of mentally capacity, which usually occurs when a party is mentally challenged in some fashion; (3) the incapacity to consummate the marriage; (4) consent to marry was obtained by force, duress, or fraud; or (5) an incurable mental illness for five or more years. The important thing to remember is that you will need corroborating evidence to bolster your case. In other words, you will need party testimony to assist you in your annulment action. 


Also be aware that the Appellate Division held that if you desire to obtain an annulment based upon fraud, the alleged fraud must have been “material, to the degree that the deceived party would not have consented to the marriage” if the fraud was disclosed.


Annulments are hard to obtain, especially if the marriage was consummated.  If you are contemplating seeking an annulment, make an appointment to see an attorney first. Try to find one that will not charge you for a consultation fee.  With no fault divorce statutes, and the stringent requirements for procuring an annulment, you may not be able to satisfy the grounds and you may wish to consider seeking a divorce by pleading “no fault.”  

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